Chocolate or vanilla? Marmite — yes, please or no way? Beach holiday or skiing holiday? Star Wars or Star Trek? And on and on…
There are so many debates that simply will never be settled. Coming from the world of urban mobility, we here at JIVR often get asked to settle another highly specific argument about which is better, solid tyres or air-filled tyres?
Of course, this relates specifically to use on electric scooters like JIVR | Scooter. And, if you know anything about the kind of tyres we use, you know that our choice makes it obvious which way we lean—JIVR | Scooter comes equipped with air-filled tyres.
Still, there are two sides to this story along with pros and cons for both. If one option was clearly way better than the other under all circumstances, there wouldn’t be a debate, right?
So we’ll try to put aside our opinion as much as we can as we go through a comparison that’s almost as intense as the Millenium Falcon vs the Starship Enterprise debate – should you choose solid or air-filled tyres for your e-scooter?
The case for solid tyres
Let’s start on this side with a look at solid tyres, which are, well, solid pieces of rubber or some other composite that fit around your wheel rims.
- First and foremost, the main clear advantage of solid tyres is that they cannot puncture. They’re solid – there is nothing to puncture! In fairness, however, we must point out that this is not quite that advantage that is used to be given today’s options for puncture-resistant air-filled tyres and puncture prevention fluid. Still, if you happen to ride in an environment that is full of sharp pointy punctures waiting to happen, solid tyres will deliver some peace of mind.
- Largely due to the previous point, solid tyres are generally lower maintenance than air-filled tyres, which cannot only puncture but need to be monitored for air pressure and pumped up as needed fairly regularly. If having one less thing to worry about in life is high on your list of priorities, solid tyres might be better for you.
- Because of their construction from a harder compound, solid tyres will wear more slowly than air-filled tyres and deliver longer life under some circumstances.
- Ride quality and comfort is an issue with solid tyres since there is no “give” or cushion in the ride. Since they can’t change shape to absorb impact, solid tyres pass the energy from any impact along the structure they’re attached to, which means they end up in your feet and hands. Ouch.
- Road grip is also a problem with solid tyres, again because of their inability to change shape. Better grip comes from more contact with the surface you’re riding on and solid tyres can’t do anything to increase their contact with the road beyond the shape they’re made in. If you’re racing on a bicycle, you want the least contact possible with the road to increase speed at the expense of control but when you’re riding an e-scooter in a city environment, you want more of a balance. A lack of road grip can result in safety and control issues on an e-scooter. Again, ouch.
- We’d prefer to avoid a physics lesson here, so just trust us when we tell you about rolling resistance. Because air-filled tyres are lighter, they’re easier to propel forward in part because they provide less resistance against forward momentum. Solid tyres take more energy to roll, which in the context of an e-scooter means battery power. That means getting less out of each battery charge and recharging your battery more often.
The case for air-filled tyres
Now let’s turn to air-filled tyres, which are certainly familiar to everyone already. The advantages and disadvantages are basically the mirror image of what we covered above.
- There can be no question that air-filled tyres deliver a more comfortable ride thanks to the fact that they can absorb the impact of bumps along the way. This is the upside of the tradeoff against being vulnerable to punctures but its importance can’t be discounted. If you’re going to spend a lot of time on your e-scooter, you will almost certainly prefer the comfort of air-filled tyres over the invincible but tank-like feel of solid tyres. Still, it’s your call.
- Let’s go back to rolling resistance — air-filled tyres have less of it. This not only means that less battery power is required to move forward, but that the lighter weight of the tyres contribute to an overall lighter weight of the whole scooter. Think about that if carrying your e-scooter will be part of your daily routine or commute.
- Air-filled tyres deliver better road grip, which means better rider control. Again, there can be no argument about this. Bear this in mind if you’re going to ride on streets or surfaces that are often wet. Also, the exact air pressure can be regulated to give you the ability to find your preferred balance between grip and speed.
- It’s a fact — anything filled with air can be punctured. Having to change a tyre is always one of the last things you want to do but can be especially irritating when problems occur, for example, on the way to work. Air-filled tyres on any kind of transport are always at risk of being punctured if you are unlucky or not careful.
- As if punctures weren’t enough to worry about, air can slowly leak out of tyres. Having to make sure they kept at the proper air pressure is one more thing to worry about and adds to the general level of maintenance required.
- The same quality that lets air-filled tyres change shape to absorb impact and makes them lightweight also makes them wear faster.
We at JIVR default to air-filled tyres for the same reason that nearly all bicycles come with them—they are the best trade-off between rider comfort and control on one hand and durability on the other. You may value different attributes or have to consider certain things because of the environment where you ride.
So there’s our list of things to keep in mind when you’re trying to make your own decision about this never-ending argument. Now, about the Millenium Falcon…
Want to know more about JIVR | Scooter? Visit us at www.jivr.co